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Thread: USB Thumb Drive OS < 32 MB

  1. #1
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    USB Thumb Drive OS < 32 MB

    Are there any good OSes that can fit on a 32 MB thumb drive?

  2. #2
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    I can think of several, Linux and DOS come to mind right away.

    The real question is what you want to do with that USB device and what your expectations are. Getting a Linux and GUI on there might be a liitle tight (although I certainly wouldn't rule it out), but you could certainly get Linux and a lot of command line tools on there. After all, there are versions of Linux that fit on a floppy, so a 32 meg flash device is downright roomy. DOS, particularly something like FreeDOS might also be a good choice, particularly if you want to do more things with utilities on the USB device and less in the way of networking (DOS network support being weaker).

    I don't know of any distro, as opposed to OS, that will fit on a 32 meg device, but there may well be some. You might want to start looking in the Other Live CDs forum, or do a little searching with Google.

  3. #3
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    By the way, two other things, Tips And Tricks is reserved for posting interesting Tips and Tricks that you have to offer other users (that's why it says Add your Knoppix Tips and Tricks here under the name). It is not for asking questions. I'm moving your post to the lounge. Please try to post in proper areas in the future.

    Secondly, while the question is certainly valid, one might wonder how much work you want to do to squeeze a few tools into 32 megs, when the price of flash drives has dropped so sharply. You are posting from the U.S., for example. Starting today you can get a 256 meg USB2 flash device for $13.88 after rebate at OfficeMax, and that's likely not the lowest price device of that size that I could find. If you do manage to get your 32 meg device booting, please post back detailed steps of what you did.

  4. #4
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    As of now I have several thumb drives, but I hate having this one not in use for anything. I have a small computer repair business and would love to get a few PC diagnostic and system tools on it. Although a GUI would be nice, I'm up for command line as well.

  5. #5
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    Sorry, but there's really no way in hell you're gonna get a GUI on 32mb. Try NetBSD...I think that can fit on real small stuff.

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    Yeah, I know that a GUI is out of the picture for the most part, but it's worth a try.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kowood
    Sorry, but there's really no way in hell you're gonna get a GUI on 32mb.
    Kowood, you really don't know what you are talking about. There are several Live CD's less than 32 megs at this site, and more than one claims to have GUI support (see ThinStation). GUIs do not have to be bloated, although that is certainly the current trend. The old C64 had GEOS, a full true GUI for a 8 bit computer. The MAC had a GUI since it first came out, in days when a 32 meg system was too much to hope for. Even in the PC world, all Windows up to Win 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups would fitt in well less than 32 meg (Win 3.1 came on about 10 floppies and you didn't load everything). Even Win 95 might be made to fit, although I'm not sure of it's size. Heck, we ran Windows as a GUI when Microsoft still wouldn't let us have a disk partition greater than 32 meg!

    I don't know if jbaruffa can find what he wants on a LiveCD in less than 32 meg, although with open source tools even building his own is not out of the question. But giving someone advice that there is no way they are going to find a OS with a GUI in 32 meg is dead wrong.

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    How could I get Windows 3.11 with networking on a thumb drive? Is it even possible?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbaruffa
    How could I get Windows 3.11 with networking on a thumb drive? Is it even possible?
    Space-wise, Win 3.1 fits in less than 32 meg. And there have been people that have managed to get it to work of a Live CD (as well as Win95, even though the registry is read only and that causes some error messages). The problem that I see getting Win 3.1 running from the USB device is that Win 3.1 has no USB support. I doubt if you could run Win 3.1 from a USB device, certainly it would take a little convincing. But you very well may be able to load it into memory from a USB device, and then run it from RAM (much as Knoppix runs with the toram option). The proof is left to the reader.

  10. #10
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    Harry, somewhere in my Internet wanderings, I came across a hacked version of Windows 3.1 that loads into a ramdisk entirely from a single floppy. There's not much there once it's running, but it runs.

    Certainly one could run something like it from a 32MB device. The trick would be to get it to boot.

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